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Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three)

April 22, 2020

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 22.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Eighteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2020

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 9,328

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen contributed to this opening session to a series of discussion group responses to questions followed by responses, and so on, between March and May of this year. Total participants observable in [1] with brief biographies. They discuss: the previous responses with more focused commentary on the near and middle future. 

Keywords: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, Tor Jørgensen.

Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three)[1],[2]*

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: To start, the first comments can be found here: https://in-sightjournal.com/2020/03/15/hrt-one/. The second comments/responses can be found here: https://in-sightjournal.com/2020/04/01/hrt-two/. With some of the general comments about politics, the environment, the abstract delineation of the meaning of the framework given in the questions, the future of science and technology, the future of longevity, and so on, this provides a good background for the ideas presented for the short, medium, far, and indefinite futures. Obviously, as things move forward in time, the predictability of specifics become foggier because of the widening horizon of the unknown. For those who wish to close up some comments to posed questions from before, please feel free to do it, the focus for April will be the specifics of the short-term and the medium-term future. Then to close, for May, we can continue on the far future and the indefinite future with some more specifics, perhaps playing off the ideas of one another in some more depth. 

Matthew provided some important contextualization and critical commentary on social and political dynamics. This is important, as many of the long-term problems seem to succumb more to the steady and ever-present advance of science and technology. In the immediate moments, we continue to see various trends. A continuation of theocracies, of authoritarianism, of a substantial number of democracies. Politics is an important force as a human institution with more fluid changes in the global system than seen in recent history, especially with, according to the World Health Organization, a global pandemic. In the medium future, it seems hard to determine who will be in power. If some of the promises, or the perils, of AGI come to fruition, then the frame may be “what will be in power” rather than “who will be in power.” Our technological advancements pose the possibility to make life far more enjoyable, positively varied, and fruitful than any prior generation. Our science could give further enriching and more accurate views on the nature of the universe and our place in it. 

Even further, and to the nature of the gathering of this particular, temporary grouping, we can note the importance of human intelligence and one formal proxy in IQ tests with strong indications within 4-sigma (plus or minus from the mean). Over time, in general, it lost importance in the general public consciousness. Most of the other responses, apart from the abstract deconstruction of Christian and the political commentary of Matthew, focused, also rightly, on science and technology and the impacts of them. Perhaps, playing off some of the ideas or reflections of others, what might be some of the advances in science and technology of importance for political and social life around the world? What might be some of the implications for science and technology based on the political dynamics seen in the relatively short-term, at present, and, potentially, expected social changes in the medium-term? Also, in terms of abstract considerations of the frame of reference, what are the biases and insufficiencies in the framing of the questions and the theme? What might the framing leave out as a crucial consideration of a set of them?

Thank you all for the continued thoughtful responses or participation as observers, I remain curious as to the formalized internal mentation placed into the typed text from each of you. It’s not simply words. I read them as a feeling, a sensibility, and a series of, likely, written and re-written thoughtful reflection.

Christian Sorenson: With the aim of defining the future, in the near future and in the medium term, from one side, I’ll complete the abstractions with content; from the other, I will suggest a future with a purposeful character. It is difficult to ask about the operationally defined future, without first wondering if at this precise moment of “here and now”, exists or not in some sense a turning or breaking point. That is to say something that we could define as a “paradigmatic change” because it is both radical and unprecedented. Once I have responded to this, I will propose what to expect in relation to the future in the short and medium term.

A constant that has persisted in human history with recurrence are wars that have involved us all. From this perspective, it seems that for some reason “conflicts” as such, have been part of the world and perhaps part of the human being as an individual. This has been the case until the last “Two World Wars”. Likewise including what happened till the “Cold War”, not only were the parties to the conflict identifiable and visible, but also the threats that were involved. As a counterpart if we examine what is going on and now occluding after a prolonged period of gestation, what appears is a new and unprecedented age, and way of making wars, where threats are no longer visible, as happened with the “Cold War”. But instead what exists are invisible attacks, from an unknown enemy, and therefore the parties, and the causes involved are definitely undefinable. The set of factors involved in the scene, form a “drawing” that has no history, and that produces a radical change in the world order of things, since nothing will be as it was before this incident. In addition, the theoretical constructs that we had, have been insufficient now to explain the phenomenon that we are experiencing.

Let’s see now what to expect, from the future, until the medium term, and starting from this underlying problem. Due to the phenomenon of the “World Globalization”, nations and continents, actually face at the same time problems of economic, demographic, sociocultural and climatic natures. Together, these brings up to play political power struggles at different levels of scale. For its part, technology, which represents both: the best and the worst in the world, is the key for understanding it, as long as it crosses everything transversely. The substrate that has acted as a means to catalyze this globalizing process, have been communications. The latter has flanked geographical, demographic, sociocultural and political distances, and boundaries as well. In the past, they rest on the “classic monolithic” dilemmas, that existed until well into the 20th century, in relation to overpopulation and world famine, and usually circumscribed in “the black continent” or some other latitudes of the planet. For at least a decade, instead, what we have observed is a deep humanitarian crisis, which is multidimensional and which affects all nations and all sectors of society. In turn, it is possible to verify globally that all political ideologies are utopias since they have succumbed, even hand in hand with their failed attempts to integrate less extreme collisions with them. Humanitarian crisis derived from poverty, wars and political or religious persecutions unleashed in their countries of origin, have produced large masses of migration towards the “old continent” of Europe and North America, provoking real “bottlenecks” in these duty stations. Without exception, they have saturated all social assistance systems, and depending on the governments in office, have also caused oppositions or internal political divisions between their detractors and those who support them. Simultaneously, social conflicts have been triggered, because citizens feel that foreigners do not intend to cross language and cultural barriers, by making an effort to truly integrate. As well, they see raptured their labor, retirement and healthcare rights to benefit immigrants. In brief if it could be summed up with a sentence, and in a dialectical form, according to the last we could have questioned ourselves with the following question mark. Which is the fundamental repercussion, that globalization has brought to every corner of the world? For responding, it would be necessary to say that first of all, has brought the alternation in the power, after the strengthening of independence and finally the upsurge of nationalism. And further, it has increased with great acceleration the climate damage, which has been creeping up significantly since at least the 1980s decade.

I would like to propose hypothetically, what would have been the underlying budget behind the “humanitarian facade”, at least for the European Union, for welcoming migrants in the last decade, and that has ended up in something out of control in recent years. For understanding this, it is requested to bear in mind the coexistence of three axes. These are: a negative birth rate or of almost zero, a population “genetic pool” with little variability, and cheap labor to perform repetitive tasks requiring low levels of technical skills. The aforementioned, implicitly carries a premise, as these countries consider that they do not have “brain leaks”. Then for this reason, they estimate that their citizens have the right to prefer living on the aid of state, before carrying out this type of work. Unluckily, this kind of rights, carries a huge cost for governments, and the risk of interrupting the production chain. The direct consequences of the two first axes, would be respectively: an elderly, and physically weaker population. Therefore, more prone to suffer diseases, due to a higher degree of inbreeding, and an increasing probability of finding “double recessives genotypes” with mutations. I believe European states, reached these conclusions about ten years ago. Based on it, they developed a strategy projected for the next two or three generations to come. Indeed, they found the solution by receiving immigrants of certain ethnicities that basically came from countries in the Middle East. According to their research, these type of groups, although they had intelligence quotients that didn’t exceeded on average ninety points on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale, they had however certain characteristics of physical resistance, and maximum variability from the point of view of their “generic pool”. Which ultimately, made them ideal for making a “genetic cross” with the European population, and thus obtain a “genetic hybrid” with the physical resistances of the former and the intelligence of the latter.

In my opinion after having empirically tested this strategy for about ten years, they realized that the problems of the past had not only not disappeared, but also had become more serious, and other unexpected ones had arisen on horizon. In this way, the population has not only aged in these countries, but also was becoming longer-lived, which means an increasing burden for the states, due to the concepts of pension payments to retirees and the high cost of health benefits. Likewise, and directly related to migrations, even more complex problems have appeared, among which are serious difficulties of internal security, as a result of constant threats and terrorists’ attacks, and from the other hand, the resurgence of nationalist and independence movements.

Now, let’s integrate the following into the construction of the scenario outlined above, in order to make it even more complex. There are two geopolitical blocks vying for power and world hegemony, and two who entities who play mediating roles. One of them is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which is made up of the United States, Canada, Europe, and its allies, and is led by the first of them. While the second one is made up of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. The ones in charge of mediating between both blocks, are the United Nations Organization (NATO), which in turn acts by generating conferences on climate change such as COP-25, and in this way intervene in the crisis caused by global warming. And currently the World Health Organization (WHO), who pretends lead the global health crisis caused by the COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2.

From this point, I will alternate making descriptions of reality and proposing explanatory hypotheses about these. Until the beginning of this year the United States was facing a “commercial war” with China, that have not given a truce until now. At the same time appears Iran, which is a fundamental geopolitical position, not only in the Middle East, but also for the whole world. Its empowerment is double, considering their technological and weapons capabilities. And from an economic point of view, the controls they held regarding oil, and the fact of being the only country in the world with zero external debt. Thirdly, we find the last Conference for Climate Change (COP-25) of the United Nations effected at the end of last year, and that was a complete failure, as the countries did not reach any agreement on fundamental issues related to global warming. In forth place, European countries, and to a lesser extent, Latin American countries, need to significantly reduce their populations, either to minimize the burden on the states or for promoting liberal economy policies, hidden this time under the excuse or “scapegoat” of the fight against poverty and hungry. An illustrative example of this, is Brazil who tries to reduce its indigenous population, with the intention of exploiting the Amazon economically. In correlation to all this “scenario”, we find out that the main strategic commercial and military link between Iran and China, is the Iranian commander Hassan Suleiman that was suddenly “selectively killed” by the United States. And “eureka”, a month after this event or impasse, “a posteriori” of a veiled threat of the Iranians was “made heard” against the United States, coincidently emerges an epidemic in China, due to a new Coronavirus. And here comes the most paradoxical of all, since who appears in the scene is nothing less than the World Health Organization, who in unison supports explanatory theories loaded with “magic realism”. Such, was the remarkable causal explanation of the epidemic. They claimed without any shame and remorse, the “implausible fallacy” that the cause of the epidemic was a cross contamination between the bat, that acted as a vector of the virus and humans, after this last had consumed them at fairs of Wuhan. When what really happened at that time during the month of December, was that these animals were wintering in China, and therefore this causal explanation “was a tease”. As if this were not enough, to this day when a little over a month has passed after the pandemic was declared, this same Organization continues on the same line with identical type of interventions. The most serious one is related to their lack of neutrality and honesty. Recently they excused, justifying their negligence by blaming China, since they did not allow them to enter in their territory to assess the situation from the beginning. With this kind of “outbursts”, they want to make us believe they were overwhelmed by causes beyond their reach.

Even worse, until now they haven’t responded to what’s really at the bottom. In place of doing so, they lay hold on the fallacy above. What do I intend to mean by this? That the World Health Organization, for a long has seen the risk of losing United States funding, since China bought its loyalty by guaranteeing much more financing in exchange for its silence on certain issues.

It seems to me that what we are experiencing marks a “milestone” in the history of humanity, since what we are recently living, is unprecedented, not only because it marks a before and after. But also, regarding this marks a path “that has no return”, not so much due to the fact that it is unknown, when we can return to our normality, but basically because our lives will never be the same as before. There are some certainties though, such as the fact that virologists and other scientists, know next to nothing about this virus. That mathematical models, are out of step with epidemiological realities, even though they’re more than sixty laboratories around the world seeking some kind of treatment or vaccine. Is unfortunate so far, because there is no chance of finding any solution. And therefore, at least until the next four years, any attempt to control this pandemic will be an absolute failure. In short, everything that exists until now, is purely empirical, and doesn’t have any scientific basis. In consequence it is nothing more than to “play a Russian roulette” by trial and error, for trying to avoid mortality. Continuing with the certainties budge, it is an indisputable fact at this point, that this virus came out of some laboratory. Specifically, it is an RNA-type and the third variety of coronavirus family, that actually was manipulated at four points in its polynucleotide chain. Despite sharing with the latter 80% of their genetic material, the first one in the year 2002 (SARS) had a mortality rate close to 10%, meanwhile the second in 2012 (MERS) had one near to 40%, though both had low contagibility.

Therefore, what can be expected from the latter (SARS-CoV-2) is that, in addition to having a much higher level of contagion, it also will have a mortality rate significantly over the 40%. What this statement shows, is that mortality rates given by the authorities in strict sense, aren’t real. And beside the aforementioned, in relation to its specific scope, it is still unknown.  As time passes the lethality rate is going to increase more and more. The more this occurs, then the further the lethality rate will move away from the mortality one. Similarly, as I already noted, we will increasingly see how linear and exponential mathematical models, cannot be fully applied to epidemiological realities. Empirically speaking, the contagion and death curves will “not peak” and then flatten and flatten to a baseline, how is usually believed. On the contrary, after reaching a peak, they will remain on a “plateau” for an indefinite quantity of time, and only later, they will begin to flatten until the next waves of infections and deaths comes behind successively, rising the numbers again by a “jagged curve”. It is likely that at least with this new Coronavirus, infections and deaths will continue to exist indefinitely over time, since this kind of virus for sure will keep mutating permanently. This ultimate, is without considering that mutations can make it even more aggressive. Definitely, will be inevitable the continuous search of new forms of treatment, since community immunity is going to be insufficient.

As I already pointed out, a “new age” is beginning, also because global warming after a few future decades will completely reverse, once about 30% of the world’s population remains alive. This is the first bacteriological attack that affects the entire planet. Apart this, it is the debut not only of a new form of war, but also of a “Third World War”. The hegemony of the United States for more than a century, has ended after “the blow” they received. This nation ceased from now on to be the first economic and military power in the world. Through what happened, we have been able to verify that the most dangerous enemy is “the small and invisible enemy”, created by ourselves. I believe technology will make a significant leap in the field of artificial intelligence and in the aerospace career, because in the not too distant future, due to bacteriological threats that will become more frequents, it will be imperative to colonize other planets holding characteristics similar to ours. in order to allow human survival. In this way, it is going to be essential to find water and carbon molecules in these places, as these are fundamental for the survival of living beings. Moving forward, artificial intelligence will be even primordial in the near future as direct interactions with the environment and physical relations with others will become increasingly limited and restricted. Once, countries as the United States and European countries manage to recover to some extent from this “blow”, they will look around to find the culprits of these evils. And it is very likely that coalitions such as the European Union, are going to be dissolved, or that a Third World War, “de factum” already started, will passed to be formally declared for lasting much longer than those that preceded it. The “Third one”, will be waged on two different technological fronts, the biological and the communications respectively. From now on, “Chaos Theory” will come fully into play because of a paradigm shift in the way of conceiving conflicts. For this reason, these ones won’t be sought anymore focusing on immediately eliminate the enemy. Instead, the goal is going to aim the psychological weakness of the enemy, in the sense of letting him agonize to death. What in other words I would prefer to denominate the “deadly disease of despair, without remedy”.

Claus Volko: I was asked in round 2 whether I think mankind will succeed in solving
the problem of climate change. As an answer to this question I will
quote Maya Angelou: “Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst, and
everything in between won’t come as a surprise.”

James Gordon: During my last contribution, I discussed various ways that technology could very well develop in the future. I’d like to take this opportunity to argue with myself (something I will often do, sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s tiresome), thus I will go over the opposite, and discuss what hasn’t happened according to plan, what seems to not be developing on schedule, and what may very well not happen, ever (despite promising hopes and suggestions of its potential). I think it’s quite possible that we could experience a lot of stagnation in the future, in our societies, our technology, government, and so forth. We could experience more of a “post-apocalyptic”/barren-looking sci-fi world as well (I mentioned sci-fi can come true). I’ll use some examples from the modern world.

Think about self-driving cars. Sometimes I’m not totally up to date on the newest technology, but I think that’s because I don’t easily fall for what seems like the newest, flashiest product in tech, or the latest development in whatever. I don’t always follow the absolute newest thing, because I don’t like to get ahead of myself. I was highly skeptical of this supposed self-driving car revolution. I just couldn’t picture these things actually working, let alone becoming the norm. Several years later, people are still driving their cars around, manually. Self-driving cars are now an option, but doing things the old fashioned way is still highly preferable. And why? For one, because of machine error. We just don’t have the technology to let machines take over for us yet. So when will that happen? I’m going to argue that it may never happen. We will get ever closer, but this singularity you’ve heard about, may just be a fantasy.

When I was in college (about 12 years ago), I remember hearing an acquaintance talking at a party of sorts, about this Ray Kurzweil guy (whose last name I had only associated with digital pianos), who was so sure about the coming of “the singularity” and making all these audacious predictions about the trajectory of technological progress. The kid explaining this to us seemed really convinced of it, and this was a case where I once again came to realize that just because someone believes it themselves, has a lot of info and support for their ideas, and tells you about it, doesn’t mean it is necessarily so. AI and automation have come a very long way. But we have experienced scarcely few cases of “technological singularity” (where technology truly and fully takes over on its own). Sure, a talking robot here, a persistent malfunction there, or a seemingly self-developing AI consciousness somewhere, or whatever…but I think some of this theorizing about tech is merely indulgent castles in the sky. For the most part, machines do what we tell them to do, and it’s quite possible that it’s going to stay that way, at least for a long while. It’s definitely fun and cool to think about how science fiction could become truth in the future, but just become something is possible, does not mean it’s going to happen. There is such an incredibly massive possibility for bugs in any computer system, that I can’t see AI really doing a whole lot without our help. The level of programming required means we need to know things that we just don’t know yet. If we want to make a robot behave like a human, we have to first understand the brain…and my experience is that we still know surprisingly little about that. So on some level, I think the long-term I projections could be reasonably taken off the table until we see better progress in that domain.

Another example is “VR” (virtual reality). Very little progress has truly been made with VR (if you think of “true VR” as nearly indistinguishable from reality). Basically what we have are video games, which feel like games. They are more realistic, but there is no sensory experience there, beyond audio and visual. We have the same games we had in 1972. Almost 50 years later, we are still playing pong (essentially), though now it’s called “Beat Saber” and we play it in 3D while moving to a soundtrack (which I find to be very enjoyable). Granted there are a huge number of games and the experiences run quite a range, but we don’t yet have anything close to a “holosuite” from Star Trek. We have more advanced graphics, but they are still very much external to us. You would never truly mistake this experience for reality. Currently, virtual reality is almost nothing like reality, and you are always aware you’re playing a game. There is a massive leap between something truly virtual, and something merely simulated. Video games are still only video games, and there has been no movement towards something truly “Matrix-esque”; that is to say, a plug-in directly to our brains that stimulates the brain as if it were reality. Is it even possible to do this? Maybe, maybe not. I say we’re a far cry from it now, and if we make any progress towards that, it may be glacially slow.

The next example is along the same lines. A few years ago I was told about the development of the 2045 Initiative, which has its own website. If you look at the site, you’ll see that the last update was something like two years ago…and according to their proposed schedule, they’re already at least 5 years behind, and that’s even if this thing is still underway. This is part of the “transhumanist movement”, which is an effort to extend human life through AI.; “2045” was started by a Russian billionaire. It just seems very out there to me and ambitious, to say the least. That is a massive rabbit hole to be jumping into, to propose that we can somehow transfer consciousness into a computer. Although it makes some logical sense, given what we know of AI and how we understand the brain, I personally don’t believe the evidence we have right now is sufficient to expect that this will become a reality. By this, I mean that just because we can create something virtual does not mean that it is real. Ergo if you create a functional “AI” version of yourself that’s not flesh in blood, it is still not human, even if it seems like it, and therefore it is still not you. I think this will be the age of virtual/versus real. There may be a point where people actually pay for things that are being marketed as real, which are merely virtual. Think about all the scams out there, all the false advertising, negligence, and even mere honest mistakes, and imagine this happening in more desperate circumstances, where people are obsessively trying to de-age themselves or increase their lifespans or move to another body. A really good movie I saw lately along these lines is Advantageous (which you can watch on Netflix).

There must be many other rather empty projects and projections like this on the market currently (by this I refer to 2045 and its transhumanist agenda; creating “Avatars” which are AI clones of individual human brains). I think that we make progress through trial and error. People get excited about an idea and their eyes get bigger than their stomachs, or their reach extends their grasp, so to speak. They make a lot of progress and then they jump to even broader and more groundless conclusions. Their imaginations run away with them, and suddenly they’re way off in the stratosphere with their estimations about what’s likely to happen. Quantum computing is another area. It is being developed and it is definitely showing increased application, but ultimately this may just mean better computations. We may not see anything truly new, only acceleration of what we could already do before. One cool thing I can definitely buy into, and have heard about quantum computing is that it could be used to actually predict the future (in some cases). So, natural disasters, the weather, the economy, ecology, and other fairly broad patterns, I think will become more predictable through quantum computing due to greater power to process data. Will we ever live in a world like Philip K. Dick’s “Minority Report”, where every crime is foreseeable before it happens? Probably not.

Another example is space travel. We have not made very good progress in this area, mainly because it’s expensive, and people are applying to fund problems on earth. The leap just hasn’t been made yet. It was a thing for a while, it took off, people got excited, some things went wrong, and then it kind of stopped. We have been grounded for a long time. I watched a documentary called “The Mars Underground” which was very interesting. It’s all about a plan to visit Mars, terraform it, etc. And the film is about how this is definitely something feasible. Yet, will it really happen? I don’t know if we’ll be able to get our shit together to really make this happen in any short time. I personally think it is likely to happen, but (again), it may be very slow progress. If the scientists estimate we will be inhabiting mars in 100-200 years, it might, in reality, be more like 500.

In fact, I think it’s actually safe to estimate that if you take any person claiming to make a specific projection about future events, they’re like to be wrong. This is just based on our limited ability to accurately make predictions. Generally, the will be too optimistic, or too pessimistic, or to something, often this will be influenced by their underlying agenda. If they’re very worried about the planet ending soon, they’ll be overly pessimistic in their estimations. If they’re really excited about space travel, they’re likely to be too optimistic in their projections. We can’t ever be completely unbiased, and people will, consciously or unconsciously, distort their thinking to fit whatever framework they’re being influenced by. Anyway, my comments this time were mostly just to play devil’s advocate and point out some snags in our progress, and some caveats to predicting the future, and also to what technology promises but may not be able to genuinely offer.

Rick Farrar: Interesting thoughts from all. I particularly enjoyed reading some of the comments that made me think, “I never considered that”.

In this response, I’d like to mainly answer a question or two that was asked and add some thoughts in relation to what a few others have mentioned.

Note to Tor Jorgensen: I agree with your views on current and past educational systems failing us. At least in my corner of the world, schools seem to be geared toward carving away most of the potential in a child with the goal of creating conformity in both thought and purpose. I have perhaps an idealistic view that learning systems should somehow be a joy to the young. A journey that encourages them with a drive into adulthood to question and explore. Something that does not take away the curiosity that all children seem to have and replace it with the stress of denying who they are in order to be who they are made to believe they should be. I don’t know if what you had in mind in your statements was anything similar to what I’ve said here. These things are only my own thoughts. But I certainly do agree that educational systems are failing. Very badly.

Answer to comments from Matthew Scillitani:

Matthew said:

Comments to Rick Farrar: In your middle future predictions, you predicted that there would be significant increases in average human lifespans. You went on to say that there are some potential benefits and dangers that could arise from this development. What do you think some of these potential benefits and dangers could be? In the very distant future, do you think these medical advances might lead to some form of biological immortality? As an aside, I agree with you on your comment that lab-grown meat will become very popular. My mother, who’s a vegetarian, cooked me one of those “fake” burgers and I could hardly notice any difference in flavour or texture.

Response to Matthew: Thank you for the questions. It strikes me that an effect of lifespans today is that the opportunities, challenges, and management of the world are continuously being handed over to younger people. It becomes theirs to understand, mould, and conquer. I have to wonder how this handing off of everything would change if people lived much longer lives. Would power and/or riches be retained/concentrated in the hands of elders and stay there? What if your ancestors lived decades longer? Or never died? Or tyrants had years longer to strangle a country? Just things that occurred to me that could potentially affect a current civilizational dynamic in a negative way. On the other hand, it’s interesting to imagine how the world would be if some great thinkers and people of talent were around longer. I suppose, like almost all things in life, there are pluses and minuses.

Regarding whether medical advances may eventually lead to biological immortality…I think it possible the science could be there eventually, but I think that is far out there in the future.

When I mentioned a growing role for lab-grown meat, I was also thinking that it makes practical sense in a large number of ways already in the world. And if/when space exploration or potential off-world colonies begin to happen, then I could see it becoming immensely important. It would be a source of protein in those situations where farming is not even a consideration. So you grow your protein in a reactor. Thanks again for the questions, Matthew.

Note to Rick Rosner: Rick, you had some thoughts, looking ahead, about expanding roles for non-government entities and people turning to them rather than to governments to get their needs fulfilled. To my way of thinking, at least, one of the roles of governments should be to see to the welfare and well being of their citizens, but obviously, that isn’t happening as it should. Thus the NGO’s. Wouldn’t it create an interesting situation someday in this changing world, if an organization of NGO’s could, through being more efficient and preferred on a worldwide scale, essentially replace the functions of a large part of existing government structures on a practical basis and render them irrelevant? Just replace all this bickering that goes back and forth between governments and do what needs to be done. Just thinking out loud.

Reading comments and predictions from the group, there’s mention by some of the world is becoming more peaceful and enlightened and there is also concern from some about possible wars. My crystal ball is very murky on this subject. I can say that, as somebody who is 57 years old, I have seen changes in the world in my lifetime that I would never have imagined or predicted in my youth. And this makes me a little timid about taking a firm stance on questions like this. As an individual, I am a peaceful person in general and would like to envision a world without strife, particularly over stupid things. And the present is unlike my past, so maybe things like the abundance of knowledge and communications, and people talking and discussing…anything and everything, will create possibilities for change in the world in peaceful ways that could not have happened before. But, on the other hand, if the past is an indication of the future, then there will be times in the future when things will be settled once again by spilling blood.

Tor Arne Jørgensen: In the first section, I will address the topic surrounding the COVID-19 virus regards to past, present and future events, further talk about the collaboration of governments and possible political shifts as regards the near to the middle future.

In the second section of this issue, I will lightly speculate around the possible economic effects that this pandemic will cause in a global spectrum as regards to near to middle future.

After each section, I will then ask follow-up questions to the whole group in the hope of enlightenment regards to mention issues.

1st section

As to the direction of topic related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact effect that this has had on us all, it is in my mind now all-important as a direct effect on all levels within government relations. This COVID-19 is indeed a game-changer within world politics, economics, the medical community and more. Feel that a group debate about some of the various implications we see today, and the way forward warrants this group’s attention. Thoughts around how this pandemic will this affect the world and for how long it is just some of the questions I hope that we together can shed some light on. The world today is now going through one of it’s biggest structural changes since WWII.

As the way forward goes, now is the time to build even closer alliances with our neighbouring countries and not to cut each other off. What we see today in the media with regards to news about mass fatalities, closing of borders, the shutdown of cities around the world and economic disaster is indeed alarming. The collaboration between the global power organizations like the: EU, WHO, WTO, OPEC and the work that now lay so presently ahead. Furthermore, the conflict of interest regards the balancing Act between the financial interests and the health interests, by which side will tip the scale in their favour if one can permit oneself to be so blunt. The need to look into the past for knowledge to bring with into the future, by the intent of implementing countermeasures for further events like the once we see today. The political agenda forward will indeed transform future events on a global scale of that I am certain, but in what form or manner now that is an uncertainty.

Questions 1-3 in link to the first section:

  1. Do you think the world will see an increase in global pandemics in the near to middle future like the one we have today?
  2. What can the global medical community do to if possible, as prevention measurements against further worldwide pandemic spread in the near to middle future?
  3. What do you think the WHO will take away from the COVID-19 outbreak when it is all over, will we see a major procedure shift within prevention measures, resulted by the COVID-19 outbreak in the near to middle future?

2nd section

The economic implementations that are now upon us all, will be even more evident as time passes. If we look back at past events like the time of the great depression when the stock crash at the end of the 1920s and the effect it had on the global economy is still vividly remembered.

The international trade crash back then is not comparable in the relation of today’s situation, but the percentage of unemployment in the aftermath of the now COVID-19 pandemic may show some similar effects. As to the international trade policy, I hope for an even more open and interactive trade policy whereby the nation’s political leaders are on board with an again even more active collaboration with the nations alike by reasons alone, so as to strengthen the international bonds. United we stand stronger against the coming events, whereby reasons of economic disasters, or global political instability or by other means.

Questions 1-3 link to the second section:

  1. In what manner do you feel the international trade should go after this pandemic?
  2. In what degree will the effect of this pandemic influence the world trade forum forward into the near to middle future?
  3. Is a closer political collaboration the answer as a prevention measure to counteract future events like the one we see today?
Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Contributors for April 22, 2020 session: Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen. Total participants (Contributors and Observers for April 22, 2020 session):

Christian Sorenson is a Philosopher that lives in Belgium. What identifies him the most and above all is simplicity, for everything its better with “vanilla flavour.” Nevertheless, his wife disagrees and doesn’t say exactly the same, for her he is “simply complex.” Perhaps his intellectual passion is for criticism and irony, in the sense of revealing what the error hides “under the disguised of truth”, and precisely for this reason maybe detests arrogance and the mixture of ignorance with knowledge. Generally never has felt confortable in traditional academic settings since he gets impatient and demotivated with slowness, and what he considers as limits or barriers to thought. In addition, especially in the field of Philosophy, and despite counting, besides a master degree in another study area, with a doctorate in Metaphysics and Epistemology in Italy, done in twenty-four months, while talking care at that time of her small daughter, starting from bachelor’s degree, learning self-taught Italian from scratch, and obtaining as final grade “summa cum laude” (9.8)… Feels that academic degrees and post-degrees are somewhat cartoonish labels because they usually feed vanity but impoverish the love for questioning and intellectual curiosity. For him “ignorance is always infinite and eternal” while “knowledge is finite and limited”. What he likes the most in his leisure time, is to go for a walk, to travel with his wife and “sybaritically enjoy” her marvellous cooking. IQ on the WAIS-R (Weschler Intelligence Scale), 185+ (S.D. 15); Test date: November, 2017. High IQ Societies: Triple Nine Society, World Genius Directory, and several others.

Claus Volko is an Austrian computer and medical scientist who has conducted research on the treatment of cancer and severe mental disorders by conversion of stress hormones into immunity hormones. This research gave birth to a new scientific paradigm which he called “symbiont conversion theory”: methods to convert cells exhibiting parasitic behavior to cells that act as symbionts. In 2013 Volko, obtained an IQ score of 172 on the Equally Normed Numerical Derivation Test. He is also the founder and president of Prudentia High IQ Society, a society for people with an IQ of 140 or higher, preferably academics.

Dionysios Maroudas was born in 1986. He lives in Athens. He has a passion for mathematics, photography, reading, and human behaviour. He is a member of the ISI-Society, Mensa, Grand IQ Society (Grand Member), and THIS (Distinguished Member)

Erik Haereid has been a member of Mensa since 2013, and is among the top scorers on several of the most credible IQ-tests in the unstandardized HRT-environment. He is listed in the World Genius Directory. He is also a member of several other high IQ Societies. Erik, born in 1963, grew up in OsloNorway, in a middle-class home at Grefsen nearby the forest, and started early running and cross country skiing. After finishing schools he studied mathematics, statistics and actuarial science at the University of Oslo. One of his first glimpses of math-skills appeared after he got a perfect score as the only student on a five hour math exam in high school.

HanKyung Lee is a Medical Doctor and the Founder of the United Sigma Intelligence Association, formerly United Sigma Korea. He lives and works in South Korea. He earned an M.D. at Eulji University. He won the Culture Fair Numerical and Spatial Examination-CFNSE international competition conducted by Etienne Forsstrom. Also, he scored highly on the C-09 of Experimental Psychologist. He did achieve a 5-sigma score on a spatial intelligence test created by Dr. Jonathan Wai. He is a member of OLYMPIQ Society.

Kirk Kirkpatrick earned a score at 185, near the top of the World Genius Directory, on a mainstream IQ test, the Stanford-Binet.

James Gordon is an independent/freelancer from the USA. He first entered into OATH Society, while completing his MFA in Creative Writing at Adelphi University, New York in 2010. Since then, he has taken over 100 high range tests, and is among the top scorers on numerous tests. He has also co-authored two exams (with Michael Lunardini and Enrico Pretini); he and Lunardini have another in production. He has worked in education and mental health. His struggle, through and beyond his own mental illness and substance use disorder, has led to a unique and earnest outlook on life. He strives to bring the wisdom gained from his experiences into the picture to enrich others’ lives. His hobbies include skiing, lifting weights, video games, and films. He is also a skilled amateur writer, and virtuoso pianist/guitarist. He lives in Seattle, WA with his wife, and plans to soon start a family.

Laurent Dubois is an Independent IQ test creator. On his website, he, about the 916 test, states the potential submission qualification for a large number of high-IQ societies, “WAHIP, the High IQ Society for the disabled, the Altacapacidadhispana, the SIGMA, the SMARTS, the The Mind Society, the Top One Percent Society, the Elateneos, the EXISTENTIA, the Artifex Mens Congregatio, the Neurocubo, the GLIA, the Milenija, the ISI-S, the Introspective High IQ Society, the Camp Archimedes, the PLATINUM and the PARS Societies, and potentially for several other societies (Cerebrals, Glia, Poetic Genius, Pi, Mega…).” That is, he constructs tests respected by many.

Marco Ripà is an extremely skilled problem solver working as a freelance content creator and a personal branding consultant in Rome; his homonym YouTube channel (160k subscribers) is focused on logics, mathematics and creative thinking. He initially studied physics but he gained a first class degree in economics. Author of books plus several peer-reviewed papers in mathematics (graph theory, congruences, combinatorics, primality problems) and experimental psychology (articles published in Notes on Number Theory and Discrete Mathematics, International Journal of Mathematical Archive, Rudi Mathematici, Matematicamente.it Magazine, Educational Research, IQNexus Magazine and the WIN ONE), he is the father of 70+ integer sequences listed in the OEIS.

Matthew Scillitani, member of the Glia SocietyGiga SocietyESOTERIQ SocietyThe Core, and the Hall of Sophia, is a web developer and SEO specialist living in North Carolina. He is of Italian and British lineage, and is predominantly English-speaking. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at East Carolina University, with a focus on neurobiology and a minor in business marketing. He’s previously worked as a research psychologist, data analyst, and writer, publishing over three hundred papers on topics such as nutrition, fitness, psychology, neuroscience, free will, and Greek history. You may contact him via e-mail at mattscil@gmail.com.

Mislav Predavec is a Mathematics Professor in Croatia. Since 2009, he has taught at  the Schola Medica Zagrabiensis in Zagreb, Croatia. He is listed on the World Genius Director with an IQ of 192 (S.D. 15). Also, he runs the trading company Preminis. He considers profoundly high-IQ tests a favourite hobby.

Richard Sheen is a young independent artist, philosopher, photographer and theologian based in New Zealand. He has studied at Tsinghua University of China and The University of Auckland in New Zealand, and holds degrees in Philosophy and Theological Studies. Originally raised atheist but later came to Christianity, Richard is dedicated to the efforts of human rights and equality, nature conservation, mental health, and to bridge the gap of understanding between the secular and the religious. Richard’s research efforts primarily focus on the epistemic and doxastic frameworks of theism and atheism, the foundations of rational theism and reasonable faith in God, the moral and practical implications of these frameworks of understanding, and the rebuttal of biased and irrational understandings and worship of God. He seeks to reconcile the apparent conflict between science and religion, and to find solutions to problems facing our environmental, societal and existential circumstances as human beings with love and integrity. Richard is also a proponent for healthy, sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyles, and was a frequent participant in competitive sports, fitness training, and strategy gaming. Richard holds publications and awards from Mensa New Zealand and The University of Auckland.

Rick Farrar holds a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arkansas with additional work performed toward a Master’s degree in environmental engineering. He currently works with environmental compliance and reporting for a small oil refinery in Alaska. Rick’s outside interests include language learning (currently immersed in Greek) , traveling, music/singing, and traditional do-it-yourself type skills. His most recent IQ test activity was with the PatNum test, 18/18, 172 S.D. 15, by James Dorsey.

Rick G. Rosner, according to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing here, may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.

Sandra Schlick has the expertise and interest in Managing Mathematics, Statistics, and Methodology for Business Engineers while having a focus on online training. She supervises M.Sc. theses in Business Information and D.B.A. theses in Business Management. Managing Mathematics, Statistics, Methodology for Business Engineers with a focus on online training. Her areas of competence can be seen in the “Competency Map.” That is to say, her areas of expertise and experience mapped in a visualization presentation. Schlick’s affiliations are the Fernfachhochschule Schweiz: University of Applied Sciences, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences, and AKAD.

Tiberiu Sammak is a 24-year-old guy who currently lives in Bucharest. He spent most of his childhood and teenage years surfing the Internet (mostly searching things of interest) and playing video games. One of his hobbies used to be the construction of paper airplanes, spending a couple of years designing and trying to perfect different types of paper aircrafts. Academically, he never really excelled at anything. In fact, his high school record was rather poor. Some of his current interests include cosmology, medicine and cryonics. His highest score on an experimental high-range I.Q. test is 187 S.D. 15, achieved on Paul Cooijmans’ Reason – Revision 2008.

Tim Roberts is the Founder/Administrator of Unsolved Problems. He scored 45/48 on the legendary Titan Test.

Tom Chittenden is an Omega Society Fellow. Also, he is the Chief Data Science Officer/Founding Director at Advanced Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory and WuXi NextCODE Genomics.

Tonny Sellén scored 172 (S.D. 15) of the GENE Verbal III. He is a Member of the World Genius Directory.

Tor Arne Jørgensen is a member of 50+ high IQ societies, including World Genius Directory, NOUS High IQ Society, 6N High IQ Society just to name a few. He has several IQ scores above 160+ sd15 among high range tests like Gift/Gene Verbal, Gift/Gene Numerical of Iakovos Koukas and Lexiq of Soulios. His further interests are related to intelligence, creativity, education developing regarding gifted students, and his love for history in general, mainly around the time period of the 19th century to the 20th century. Tor Arne works as a teacher at high school level with subjects as; History, Religion, and Social Studies.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three) [Online].April 1 2020; 22(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, April 22). Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 22.A, April. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 22.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 22.A (April 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 22.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 22.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 22.A (2020):April. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Group Discussion on the Near, Middle, Far, and Indefinite Future, Second Comments (Near and Middle Focused Comments) Session: Christian Sorenson, Claus Volko, James Gordon, Rick Farrar, and Tor Jørgensen (Part Three) [Internet]. (2020, April 22(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hrt-three.

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